Going off to college is a scary experience for many students. The stress of leaving high school and being on your own usually isn’t helped any by the fact that you can only choose one university, and that choice may make all the difference in your life!
While yes, it’s true that you can transfer (I plan to do just that) to another school, and universities have to meet certain requirements, it’s a well-known fact that not all schools were created equal. When someone says to themselves, “You know what? I’m going to start a college today,” it’s generally because they’ve got some goal, some lesson, or some fundamental principle in mind. You need to make sure yours align with your university’s.
Here’s what to pay attention to when making your decision.
- Programs and activities – Listen, academics are important, but if you school doesn’t sponsor any group activities or sports you’re interested in, you’re going to be miserable. Colleges love to show off what they have, so call the rec center and ask about their exercise programs. Talk to students who attend and find out what clubs and organizations are available. It matters, trust me.
- Finances – Choosing a school because it’s expensive isn’t going to get you anywhere. You need to find a great fit rather than paying attention to how much a school costs. So don’t base your choice on money alone! If you’re short on money, don’t settle, either. Work hard and apply for as many scholarships as possible. Also, study for the ACT and SAT! Boosting those scores will help you get academic scholarships and acceptance letters.
- Visit campus – You can’t just call a few campus officials and expect to know the gist of a school. So visit! Call ahead and schedule a visit and a campus tour. You can stay with friends you may have if that’s allowed. If this is a school that’s on the other side of the country, it may not be possible to visit, but it’s oh-so important to see. The farther away from home you are, the more you need to make sure it’s a good fit.
- Do your research! I’m transferring schools soon because I let my parents make my decision for me. My mother didn’t do the research, so I’m in a school where I feel I don’t belong. Research academic programs, financial aspects, etc., before choosing.
- Don’t be narrow-minded! Apply to several different schools, even if they’re a reach. Because hey, you just never know.
Good luck with all of your college endeavors!
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